Deidun, A.; Gauci, A.; Azzopardi, J.; Camilleri, C.; Cutajar, D.; Chalabreysse, M., and Trinquard, F., 2018. Development of a Novel Tool for the Monitoring of Shipping Traffic Within the Strait of Sicily (Central Mediterranean): the BIODIVALUE AIS Vessel Tracker. In: Shim, J.-S.; Chun, I., and Lim, H.S. (eds.), Proceedings from the International Coastal Symposium (ICS) 2018 (Busan, Republic of Korea). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 85, pp. 1356–1360. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The Straits of Sicily within the Central Mediterranean is one of the most intensely frequented areas within the Basin by shipping traffic. This makes the tracking of such traffic all the more instrumental in mitigating possible detrimental environmental impacts. Against this background, the BIODIVALUE (an EU-funded project) vessel traffic interface has been developed, which allows the user to define a number of preferences within queries submitted to the same interface, such as distance from the Maltese shoreline of vessel records, typology of vessel, time window of requested vessel position records and whether vessel is anchored or in transit. The web-based interface provides operational ship position data for Maltese waters and historical equivalent data for the waters around the central Mediterranean island of Lampedusa and the ports of Augusta and Catania in Sicily. Outputs are generated as overlays on Google Maps, with the possibility of retrieving specific information (such as MMSI [Maritime Mobile Service Identity], ETA [Expected Arrival Time], vessel name, destination, vessel type, IMO number) on each ship position. A three-year-long AIS dataset for Maltese waters has been assessed through a MATLAB script in order to generate useful metadata (e.g. ship dimensions, speed, draught, direction) for different categories of shipping traffic in the form of visual plots and tables. The BIODIVALUE vessel traffic interface is a useful spatial tool to maritime stakeholders and decision-makers in the management of shipping traffic and its impacts by assisting in the identification of major shipping routes and characterisation of different bunkering areas.